Moving Up in the World

Special Feature: Starting out on the right step when planning a new maintenance facility.

Proposed or potential consolidation of organizations and fleets adds depth to this issue. As for tire repair, the FMFP knows which issues directly relate to facilities. Are your employees safe from physical harm? Are the most current tools and safety devices available? What is this service costing you to provide? What are the facilities considerations that need to be programmed? Should tire repair be outsourced?

Another example: an administrative assistant in Fleet Management is located in a workstation sized at 64SF, and another administrative assistant in is in a 125SF office. Both work under the same position description, are paid the same, and are located in their current workspace because their predecessor was there. If a facilities change is planned, how should these workspaces be sized?

There is a temptation to place these employees in the same configurations they are leaving—the 64SF workstation for one and the 125SF office for the other. Easily done (and, unfortunately, often done!), but the FMFP knows that this is inappropriate.

“Because we have always done it this way” may be acceptable under some circumstances, but a professional FMFP has a more economical and justifiable plan, based on experience with the profession in question specifically adjusted according to the work performed. So, if the work accomplished by the administrative assistant supports a workstation sized at 80SF, the FMFP will recommend this. The work performed by the other administrative assistant may also support an 80SF workstation, but not necessarily. All workspace assignments are addressed in this fashion.


Storage and parking for vehicles is one of the issues addressed in great detail by a professional FMFP. Where should the entrances be located? How should the parking spaces be sized? Do some of the vehicles need to be parked indoors? Why? How are the turning radiuses planned? What about security? Is surveillance always appropriate? The FMFP will develop a justified, documented plan for fleet vehicle parking and for employee parking.

Worse than a facility that offers no help is a facility that has built-in inefficiencies, because that facility provides negative assistance. Fleet maintenance managers are often asked to accomplish fleet maintenance in facilities that hinder productivity due to poor or inappropriate design. Operating in facilities designed by a FMFP, the manager would benefit from the layout in every detail. The ceiling would be the correct height. Doors would be “hung” on the correct wall, open to the correct height and width, and designed to minimize maintenance. Each bay would be designed to accommodate specific fleet vehicles, and have the correct width, depth, drainage, and lifting devices. Lighting and temperature control would be efficient and effective.

Oil distribution, compressed air, information technology, access to parts and tools—all would be extremely well thought out and available as appropriate to each mechanic. Emergency power would be readily available, (if required) located out of sight and earshot. A comprehensive storage plan would have called for the design of storage locations for all documents, supplies and equipment, based on frequency of need. Readily accessible storage would be reserved for frequently used or often-consumed items, with out-of-the-way storage set aside for items used less often. And the shelving, cabinets, etc. within the location would be correctly configured for the items to be stored.


Fleet Management Facility Programmers make it their business to know regional building practices, building codes, materials costs, site costs, estimate contingencies and predict costs in out years. Accurate cost estimating is your insurance against expensive and embarrassing cost overruns. In fact, Facilities Programmers will provide you with construction with great care.

A professional FMFP will argue that your facility is the most important tool in your toolbox. The investment is substantial. You owe it to yourself and to your owner to insure that funds used to design and build your facilities have been spent wisely. Hiring a Facilities Programmer is one sure-fire way to insure your new facility runs like an efficient and effective well-oiled machine.

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